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Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Clinton and Obama on NAFTA

March 21, 2008
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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama suggested to voters before the Ohio primary election early this month that the North American Free Trade Agreement should be renegotiated because Rust Belt workers are getting a raw deal.

The extent to which Clinton and Obama talk about NAFTA in Indiana before our own primary on May 6 remains to be seen, but an Indiana University international business professor doubts the candidates believe their own words.

Alan Rugman, a Canadian who helped the government there negotiate the 1994 agreement, says just about everyone knowledgeable about trade knows the agreement is helping all three countries.

Manufacturing was moving to Mexico and elsewhere long before the deal was signed by then-President Bill Clinton, Rugman says, so the pact only formalized a reality.

He says NAFTA helped Canada, Mexico and the United States keep up with the rising regional powerhouses of Europe and Asia, and that the 1,000-page agreement is crafted so well that â??thereâ??s nothing to rewrite.â??

Few of the manufacturing jobs that have been lost to Mexico and now China and elsewhere are coming back, and Clinton and Obama know it, Rugman says. â??You canâ??t pay people in Ohio a $150,000 subsidy to have a manufacturing job.â??

What do you think?
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